"Score one for the little guy. A welcome dose of reality was injected into the legal system yesterday when a judge shot down that out-of-control $67 million lawsuit against a family-owned dry cleaner for allegedly losing a customer's pair of pants.The man who sued now has to pay the dry cleaner's court costs of about $1,000. A request to have the loser pay the dry cleaner's attorney bills also is under consideration. The judge should make the loser pay every penny of the ''tens of thousands of dollars'' it cost the Chung family to defend itself.
After all, the loser isn't some know-nothing who pulled a ridiculously high dollar figure out of the air. The loser is an administrative law judge in Washington, D.C., named Roy L. Pearson.
That's the other problem. Anybody who could file such a stunningly outlandish and abusive lawsuit over something as trivial as a pair of pants has no business making decisions involving questions of justice.
During the pants lawsuit trial last week, Pearson reportedly broke down in tears when describing his problem. At one point in his dispute with the dry cleaner, Pearson had even demanded money so he could rent a car to travel to another shop. Another leg in Pearson's case was his claim that the dry cleaner violated consumer protection laws because the shop had a ''Satisfaction Guaranteed'' sign, yet failed to satisfy Pearson."
The judge also wrote, ''A reasonable consumer would not interpret ÔSatisfaction Guaranteed' to mean that a merchant is required to satisfy a customer's unreasonable demands'' or accept demands that he could reasonably be expected to dispute.
That refreshing, common sense ruling in the pants lawsuit came from Judge Judith Bartnoff in District of Columbia Superior Court. Good for her.